The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, on Tuesday donated a multi-million naira pressure swing absorption oxygen plant to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, Ogun state.
Handing over the 100 LPM capacity oxygen plant to Ogun state government, the Chief of UNICEF, Lagos office, Celine Lafoucriere, said the outbreak of COVID-19 propelled UNICEF to donate oxygen plants to public hospitals in Nigeria.
She lamented that about 120,000 children in Nigeria die of hypoxemia.
She noted that UNICEF was committed to ensuring that no child in Nigeria dies from pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders.
Lafoucriere said, “Today marks a significant milestone for the people of Ogun state, particularly thousands of newborns and pregnant women suffering from pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders whose fundamental right to life is about to take a positive turn with the handover of this oxygen plant close to need.
“Oxygen is life and a life-saving medical gas used for treating respiratory illnesses and supporting various healthcare provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anesthesia.
“It is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35 percent, yet, seldom available and often expensive.
“In Nigeria, about 120,000 children die every year due to hypoxemia. With limited access to supplemental oxygen, the line between life and death is blurred for critically ill patients with pneumonia and severe COVID-19 symptoms. This situation is, unfortunately, the reality for many.
Governor Dapo Abiodun who commissioned the plant described it as a life saving project.
Abiodun, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, recalled the unfortunate incidents of preventable deaths during the Covid-19 outbreak where patients could not access oxygen.
Abiodun thanked the donor promising that it would be put to use judiciously.
The Commissioner for Health , Dr Tomi Coker said the plant has capacity to produce 300 liters per minute, saying it would never run out of gas.
Coker said the state government is already planning to establish the oxygen plant in Ota, Ijebuode and three in Abeokuta.
She maintained that the Federal government would monitor all the oxygen plants, including that of Ogun.
The Chief Medical Director of the institution,
Dr Oluwabunmi Fatungase said the project aligned with the goals of the Governor Abiodun to transform healthcare delivery in the state with a focus on OOUTH.
“This Gas Plant is the first state owned and it is meant to serve all health institutions within and outside Ogun State,” she said.